Review – Rune Factory 5

We are coming up on ten years since the original release of Rune Factory 4, and two years since the newly released version, Rune Factory 4 Special. Since then there has been a ton of work into bringing the next game in the series to fruition, so it’s finally time to dive into Rune Factory 5. This time around, there are some significant changes made to the game, some of which were even covered in our Early Impressions about a month ago. Thankfully, I’ve been able to buckle down and really tackle everything this game has to offer since then, and boy does this game go deep.

Just a brief recap of everything discussed in the hands-on preview: Rune Factory 5 takes place surrounding the town of Rigbarth. Your character is found with amnesia (because it’s Rune Factory) and joins the town’s scouts called SEED. With SEED you’ll travel through dungeons, fight bosses, and aim to remember who you are and why you’re there. Dragons are still in this game, but instead of being in charge of the town like they were in Rune Factory 4 Special, you instead meet Land Dragons in Rune Factory 5. Land Dragon’s are quite nice. They always happen to show up when you finish a major dungeon, and then let you climb them and plant crops on their back.

Rune Factory 5 Combat

Hit with sword, become better with sword, hit harder with sword.

Oh yes, let’s not forget the big part of any Rune Factory game: you’ll be farming crops, selling them, and cooking with them. Outside of the house you stay in, which is called the Silo, you have a small patch that you’ll be able to tend to. Grow turnips, watermelon, corn, take your pick. Each land dragon you find will also have a farming area for you to till and manage. The first one is great, and you get it upon defeating the first major boss of the game, Kyuubi, the nine-tail fox, a land dragon will help you and set up shop just beside your original crops. Nice and handy.

The second one is much less handy, being all the way out by a volcano where the second big story event happens. That’s right, developers Hakama actually planned this out and introduced fast-travel to Rune Factory 5! This is by far one of the most useful features for this game considering everything is based around progressing days, being able to fast travel around lets you tend to your crops, and tackle dungeons or other tasks.

Rune Factory 5 Snek

Speaking of bosses, Snek.

The biggest change to Rune Factory 5 is the change to full third-person, almost hack ‘n’ slash with farming. The world feels huge and lived in now that everything isn’t top down. You can see the scale of mountains, houses, and the big tree in the middle of town. The game actually looks really nice as a whole, but there’s a downside. Now listen, the downside here isn’t even that detrimental, but it is very noticeable. When loading into areas, whether it’s a shop, the town, onto one of the dragons, the game takes a beat to catch up and render everything in.

That’s it, after the loading screen, if you give the game an extra couple seconds, everything will run just fine from there. The only time it becomes annoying is if you choose to do a lot of stuff around the town in one go. Going in and out of buildings constantly, it does become very noticeable. While we are on the note of small complaints, the camera in Rune Factory 5 is great, for the most part, until you walk over crops. The way the camera jumps from third-person, to top down doesn’t really feel organic and can really throw things off. Small complaints though, they’re far from game-breaking.

Watering crops

I was really hoping I could water crops with water magic.

Not to write off that negative, but when you consider the scale of the world, it’s almost forgivable. When you load into town, you are able to access most of the major areas without needing to go through any loading screens. Considering it’s all handled without much of a stutter, and the pop-ins aren’t anywhere near as rough as people consider Pokemon Legends: Arceus to be, I would count that as a win. Speaking of wins, let’s talk about the biggest win in Rune Factory 5: the ability to have a same-sex relationship and marriage. A huge step as a whole, you’re able to marry whomever you want, and the game does a great job not making it feel forced the way some games, like Boyfriend Dungeon, do.

The last major things in the game that you’ll focus on are the licenses and festivals. In the Silo, you’ll meet Eliza, a robot(?) head on a desk that lets you organise certain things around the town, just like in previous games. The festivals are pretty self explanatory, you’ll pick what kind of festival to do, and the game will make it happen on the designated date. Licenses let you complete certain tasks and gain access to particular skills and items. Some of the options are crafting, for armour crafting and upgrades, forging, for weapons and upgrades, and chemistry, which will let you make potions and the like. The skills are fun and can make the game feel more involved, instead of just going out to find the best weapon, why not try to make it.


It’s that easy to get a license!

While Rune Factory 5 may look good, how does it sound? Sound brings any world together, and I think that this is a game that puts it together well. From the sombre music of the chillier areas, the homely feel of Rigbarth’s theme, to the more intense music that you’ll meet fighting the bosses of the game, the music does very much rise to the occasion. Just like the games great cast of voice actors, everyone’s voice feels spot on with what you would expect, and to be totally honest, is almost as impressive as a game like the recently released Triangle Strategy.

Rune Factory 5 has been a lot of fun and has a ton to offer regardless of how you plan to tackle the game. Hopefully it doesn’t take Xseed another eight years to make the next game in the series, or maybe we get some big updates or DLC, but if it does, then I’m more than certain that this game has enough to do to keep people coming back and tackling more and more, even if it’s just exploring different love interests, or only wanting to be a potato farmer.


Graphics: 8.0

Rune Factory 5 looks great as a whole; the character and enemy models are great representations of their art. The only small downside being that there are a few area’s that feel a bit bare, luckily they’re few and far between.

Gameplay: 9.0

The game feels and plays great, save for a couple small things. The first of which being the small stuttering that happens when you go into and out of a building, and the other being the slightly wonky camera when you walk over crops.

Sound: 8.5

I love this games OST, it is great. The only downside to the sound being that some of the conversations feel like they could use a touch more than what they have.

Fun Factor: 9.5

Rune Factory 5 is a great step up from what was available in Rune Factory 4/Special. It’s great to see this this is a series still striving to improve upon itself and hopefully the game continues to get serviced.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Rune Factory 5 is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Rune Factory 5 was provided by the publisher.